During the staging of the 30th Southeast Asian Games Cross-Country Mountain Bike Competition in Laurel, Batangas, Niño Surban and Edmhel John “EJ” Flores secured podium finishes winning silver and bronze medals on the first day of cycling competitions on 1 December 2019.
Short of eight seconds from Thailand Keerati Sukprasart, Niño Surban finished the long endurance course in 1 hour, 36 minutes and 23 seconds. It was his fifth time joining the biennial event. Surban also hinted that this 30th edition of SEA Games would be his fifth and last. Trailing Niño Surban was his teammate, EJ Flores, who next emerged at the finish line with an official clocking of 1 minute, 36 minutes, and 41 seconds.
At the beginning of the race, Flores was lagging far behind his competitors. Whereas at lap 4 and 5, he dictated the pace of the competition.
Despite suffering a muscle strain in the last 500 meters of the racecourse, Edmhel John “EJ” Flores still outmaneuvered remaining rivals in the race.
Eleven participants, including Van Linh Dinh of Vietnam who did not finish the race, competed in the Men’s Cross-Country MTB competition.
Meanwhile, at the Women’s Cross Country (XCO) MTB, Thi Nhu Quynh Dinh of Vietnam subjugated rivals, including the Iriga-Pride Avegail Rombaon of the Philippines.
Thi Nhu Quynh Dinh and Thi Thom Ca of Vietnam bagged the Gold and Silver medals while Avegail Rombaon of the Philippines took home the Bronze medal.
Seven participants immersed in the Women’s Cross-Country MTB, including the Asia’s Queen of the Trails and top medal bet, Ariana Dormitorio, who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after suffering a catastrophic crash due to dizziness.
Of the seven participants listed in the roster, only Tsalina Yi-Lin Phang of Thailand did not start the Women’s Cross-Country MTB competition.
On 2 December 2019, amid the Philippines’ quest for gold, Lea Denise Belgira of the Women’s MTB Downhill Category snatched the much-coveted 30th SEA Games gold medal in the 1.6 km-length downhill category in Three Skulls, Laurel, Batangas. The first time the Philippines won a gold medal in cycling events in the 30th SEA Games and in the history of joining the MTB Downhill competition. Belgira whiteknuckled and polished off the course in a time of 3 minutes and 9.781 seconds.
Next in sequence, in the Men’s MTB Downhill Category, John Derrick Farr and Eleazar Barba Jr. won the Gold and Silver medals. Farr finished off the race in 2 minutes and 41.143 seconds ahead of 1.3 seconds from his runner-up teammate, Barba, who wrapped up the downslope racecourse in 2 minutes and 42.503 seconds.
Trailing the time of Eleazar Barba Jr. was Andy Prayoga of Indonesia, who was adrift of 6.725 seconds from John Derrick Farr.
As a result of these separate feats, the Philippines had so far collected 24 golds on the second day of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
In the interim, tropical storm Tisoy disrupted sports events in Southern Luzon (SOLU) that prompted organizers and race officials to reschedule sports activities.
On 5 December 2019, Jermyn Prado repeated Marella Vania Salamat’s victory in the 28th edition of the SEA Games in 2015 after dominating the 23.1 km-Individual Time Trial. The Women’s ITT victory of Prado is the third gold medal the Philippines achieved in cycling events of the 30th Sea Games, and the fifty-seventh gold medal the Philippines had so far garnered on that day in the biennial meet.
The Pagbilao-Pride finished up the race with an impressive clocking of 44 minutes and 44.742 seconds but reportedly collapsed after sprinting towards the finish line. Prado and her closest rival, Luo Yiwei of Singapore, had a difference of four seconds while Somrat Phetdarin of Thailand, who was approximately 14 seconds behind Prado, settled for the bronze medal.
The following day, 06 December 2019, the 30th SEA Games ITT medalist, Jermyn Prado exhibited another stellar performance after completing the Women’s Road Race second to Thi That Nguyen of Vietnam.
Women’s Road Race Gold medalist Thi That Nguyen of Vietnam triumphed over Filipino phenom and gold medal bet, Jermyn Prado, who capped off the race with the same clocking of 3 hours, 23 minutes and 57 seconds in the grueling and thrilling 108.3 km- road race. The 27-year-old Nguyen is also a track cyclist and sprinter riding for Women’s Lotto Soudal.
In the entirety of the race, they kept an eye on each other and lingered in the peloton before they pulled away from the main bunch in Calaca, Batangas, or about 25 kilometers to the finish. Prado only conceded defeat in the last meters to the finish.
Meanwhile, Delia Priatna of Indonesia bagged the bronze medal.
On 7 December 2019, in the Men’s Team Time Trial, the Philippine Team, comprised of Jan Paul Morales, Ronald Oranza, John Mark Camingao and George Oconer, settled for the bronze medal. The quartet completed the 82.4-km TTT with a clocking of 2 hours, 1 minute and 38 seconds. Early on, the men’s team of the Philippines was leading the race for the first 58 kilometers until their counterparts, Thailand and Indonesia, outpaced them. John Mark Camingao pulled away from the group in the last twelve kilometers.
Much to their surprise, Thailand Team snatched the victory over the Indonesian team with just a four-second difference in a nail-biting finish after dashing headlong through the finish line.
The Philippines lagged behind Thailand by 1 minute and 58 seconds and was 1 minute and 54 seconds adrift of Indonesia.
On the last day of cycling competition in Cavite and Batangas on 8 December 2019, the Philippine team clinched the bronze medal again after the trio of Jonel Carcueva, Marcelo Felipe and El Joshua Cariño completed the race third in the team classification behind Thailand and Indonesia.
Also, Ismael Gorospe and Junrey Navara competed along with Jonel Carcueva, Marcelo Felipe and El Joshua Cariño in the 130 km-men’s road race.
To sum it up, the National Cycling Team has contributed three golds in the 149 golds the Philippines amassed in the 30th Sea Games. Likewise, it delivered three silvers and four bronzes in the 117 silvers and 121 bronzes the host-country achieved in the historic 30th edition of Southeast Asian Games.